King Abdullah Saudi 88.
(photo credit: )
Syria said Saturday that recent comments by the country's vice president reputedly criticizing Saudi Arabia were misreported, an attempt to quell growing tension over the remarks.
Saudi Arabia lashed out at Syria on Thursday after Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa reportedly said the kingdom - the Mideast's key Sunni power player - had become semi-paralyzed and was to blame for Palestinian infighting.
But Syria's official SANA news agency quoted an unnamed official Saturday as denying al-Sharaa criticized Saudi Arabia. Instead, he stressed his country's desire to heal the rift with Riyadh.
"The brotherhood between the Syrian and Saudi people is a real one that has withstood different crises ... and Syria is aimed at reviving Arab solidarity and strengthening it to serve the national and pan-Arab interest," the official was quoted as saying.
Relations between the kingdom and Damascus have grown increasingly worse, with the two deeply divided over Syria's ties to Iran and the Shi'ite Hizbullah in Lebanon.
The relations in particular soured after Syrian President Bashar Assad, in a speech following last summer's Israel-Hizbullah war, described leaders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan as half-men for their failure to act to stop the violence.
Saudi Arabia was markedly absent from a key regional meeting earlier this month of a newly created security committee on Iraq that took place in Damascus.